Dadi... Kheer !!!
Today my grand daughter, my darling Ameena, asked me “Dadima, can you make kheer for me now? I want to have it in the afternoon". When I told her that she can’t have it in the day, she got really upset!
“But Dadi why can’t I just have it now? I want to eat Kheer right now, that’s it”. I had to explain that we were keeping Roza as it is the month of Ramzan after all, and we can’t eat food during daylight hours. So you have to wait till the evening!
“But Dadi why do we stay without food or water?”
My dear, that is because in doing so, we are experiencing the suffering and hardship of those who are less fortunate than us. We also learn about self discipline and self restraint by refusing food and water during the day and we endure it by showing our devotion to Allah and performing his prayers. We must start the day before the early morning fajr prayers by eating to our heart’s content before the sun comes out, and we are allowed to break our fast after the evening’s prayers, and surrounded by our friends and family!
When I used to live in Hyderabad, my Abba used to bring us Haleem every day for iftar, our evening meal for breaking our fast. It’s a specialty there, made with mutton, wheat and a lot of nuts and spices! It is also very healthy for us. And my Ammi used to make Mutton samosas, roohafza, and kheer for the iftar feast too! You know, for our next Ramzan, we shall travel to Hyderabad, and see the Charminar and go shopping in the Old Bazaar for bangles, trinkets and you can taste some amazing dishes from my childhood like Haleem and Mandi there!
"I can't wait to gobble up all the delicacies. But what did you do during the day while fasting?"
Ah! That was a little difficult. While fasting as kid we weren't allowed to play out in the sun & were told to keep our activites light. So we indulged in crafts. During the day hours, my mother & other aunts used to stitch our clothes for chand raat. My ammi even taught us to do a little embroidery on it, how to make flowers with thread work, adding little beads on our dresses. It was all very exciting... to make your own clothes.
Our dresses used to be very intricate with different shiny embroideries, my Kaki used to do zardozi & aari tari, while my ammi knew chikankari & kashida.
Well nowadays beautiful dresses are all there in market, but we used to wear the creativity of our mothers. Remember that salwar kameez your mother has saved for you to wear on Eid? I made it last year, when you were little. So be ready to wear your Dadi's creation.
“Wow Dadi that’s so interesting, I'm going tell all my friends that you made my dress. What about Eid? How you celebrated it?”
You know Ameena, when I was your age, we used to wait for the day of Eid impatiently because we got to meet all of our cousins, aunts and uncles! We always had a lot of fun together, and the elder ones used to give us Eidi so we always looked forward to that!
My Kaki once gave me a pair of gold earrings which were in the shape of stars... They were my favourite! We would get new clothes, jewelry, money, new books and a lot of other gifts! And the special Biryani and Meethi Sevaiyan that they make during Eid was my favourite dish ever! We used to stuff ourselves with good food and play all day long!
One year, my Dadu and Dadi came back from their Hajj to Mecca after Eid. They brought us so many gifts and delicious sweets from there! They told us that Mecca was so special during Ramzan and Eid and they had thoroughly enjoyed their visit.
Once, my best friend Suhana went to the Taj Mahal with her family for Eid! She told me that they took their morning prayers along with hundreds of people who were at the Taj Mahal. Did you know, on Eid there is no entry fee to go visit the Taj Mahal! In the evening, there is a huge fair at the Taj Gunj, and there are many stalls with wonderful jewelry, clothes, and trinkets. And you get special dishes like Sheer Korma, Kathi rolls, and your favourite Kheer too!
“Dadi I also want to go to the TajGunj fair for Eid! Can we please go this year?”
It may be difficult for us to travel to Agra this year, beti.. But we can still have fun at Eid! Me and your Ammi will take you along for Chand Raat this year! On the last day of Ramzan, after we look at the crescent moon signifying the end of the Ramzan month, we can all go to our Bazaar and get beautiful Henna designs to get ready for Eid! We’ll buy some pretty matching bangles for your Salwar and get you and your brother some ice creams too!
“I can’t wait for Eid dadi, from next year even I want to keep Roza with you and Mumma!”
My darling, Eid is always my favourite festival too! Did you know, once your Dadu and I went to Lebanon during Ramadan, and when we were on our way back to the hotel for Iftar, the evening meal, there was a sudden Bang! I immediately got scared, but your Dadujaan explained to me that it was a tradition in Lebanon to fire cannons at the time the sun sets during Ramzan, to signal us that it is time to break our Fast! There are many such traditions all around the world for Ramadan.
“Dadi, thank you for telling me all about Ramzan! now don’t forget, you have still promised me that you will make Kheer for me in the evening, and one must not break a promise that one makes during Ramzan!!”
What's more in your memory lane that reminds you of Ramzan, share with us in the comments below.